The Ferraris and the McLarens-Mercedes continued their rivalry in practice in Magny Cours, France Friday leaving the other teams toiling in their wake.
In Friday's free practice for the French Grand Prix David Coulthard led the way with the fastest time followed by Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari.
McLaren's two-time defending world champion Mika Hakkinen was third followed by the other Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello.
All four were within a half-second of each other and far ahead of the rest of the field.
Coulthard's best lap, after missing most of the morning practice, was 1 min 16.253sec, Schumacher followed with 1:16.474, a time from the morning runs.
Hakkinen's best was 1:16.687, also from the morning, with Barrichello next with 1:16.757.
They were the only drivers in the 1:16s. The only driver close to them was Mika Salo in a Sauber-Petronas, 1:17:371.
Then the gap was even more. Giancarlo Fisichella in a Benetton-Playlife was at 1:18.032 followed by Jarno Trulli in a Jordan-Mugen-Honda, 1:18.041.
Nick Heidfeld in a Prost-Peugeot was next with 1:18.125 just ahead of Ralf Schumacher in a Williams-BMW, 1:18.148.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen, the winner of last year's race in a Jordan, was 10th best in 1:18.156.
Saturday has the official qualifying for Sunday's race of 72 laps on the 4.25km track.
Schumacher has won five of the first eight races this season and has a 24-point lead over Hakkinen, who is even trailing his McLaren teammate Coulthard by two points.
Schumacher has 56 points, Coulthard 34 and Hakkinen, the two-time defending world champion, has 32 – (AFP)
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